Subsequent entry of family members (Germans) - Residence permit application
A German national can have his/her relatives follow him/her to Germany; in this case, they require a residence permit.
The family members to whom this applies are your:
- children who are minors,
- wife or husband,
- partner in a registered civil partnership as defined in the German Life Partnerships Act (Lebenspartnerschaftsgesetz),
- partner in a civil partnership recognised by foreign law that is largely equivalent to a German registered partnership.
The same applies to you if you are a parent who has custody of an unmarried minor who is a German national.
You will need a residence permit in order to rejoin your family.
Once you have received it, you can move to Germany and work here.
The following can also apply for a residence permit allowing the subsequent entry of family members:
- spouses and children of foreign nationals living in Germany and
- other relatives in cases of special hardship.
- for issuing a national visa before entering German territory: the German diplomatic mission abroad (embassy, consulate)
- after entering Germany: the authority for foreign nationals
the authority for foreign nationals is
- if you live in a city district or in a large district town: the city council (Stadtverwaltung)
- if you live in a county or township: the rural district office (Landratsamt)
Tip: The Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) provides a Verzeichnis der Vertretungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Ausland (list of addresses of German diplomatic missions abroad) on its website.
The prerequisites for obtaining the residence permit are:
- You satisfy the passport and visa obligation.
You are deemed to satisfy the passport obligation if you have an alternative form of identification.
- There are no grounds for you being expelled from the country.
- Your stay does not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- The person whom you are rejoining is a German national and normally resides in Germany.
- If you are being rejoined by a spouse:
- minimum age of both spouses: 18 years
- The person rejoining you must have a basic knowledge of German
Note: You do not usually need to have an adequate income.
N.B. You will not receive a residence permit for the subsequent entry of family members if
- the relationship was enforced or
- you only entered into it for the purpose of coming to Germany.
You must apply for a national visa in your own country before coming to Germany.
After entering Germany, you must send a written residence permit application to the authority for foreign nationals before your visa expires.
You will then receive either a residence permit or a notice of rejection.
The residence permit is valid for a limited period. You must request an extension from the competent authority in plenty of time before it expires.
- Evidence that you satisfy the passport and visa obligation
- Evidence that there are no grounds for your expulsion
- Evidence that you do not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Evidence that the person already living in Germany is a German national who ordinarily resides in Germany
- Evidence of family relationship (e.g. birth and marriage certificates, certificate of registered partnership)
- If you are being rejoined by a spouse:
- Evidence that both spouses have reached the minimum age
- Evidence that the person rejoining you has a basic knowledge of German
- first issue: EUR 100.00
- Extension by up to three months: EUR 96.00
- Extension by more than three months: EUR 93.00
Note: The competent authority can only waive the fees in exceptional cases.
probably four to six weeks
You will receive the residence permit in the format of a bank card incorporating additional electronic functions. You will find further information at “Application for electronic residence permit (eAT)".
Foreign nationals who have joined with German nationals to form a family: in most cases, you will receive a settlement permit after three years.
Young citizens of other countries can also obtain a settlement permit under less stringent requirements if they
- grew up in Germany or
- immigrated to Germany as children.
Family members of citizens of EU/EEA countries who are themselves also citizens of an EU/EEA country: you are
- free to enter the country,
- do not require a residence permit and
- are permitted to work in Germany.
Family members of citizens of EU/EEA countries who are not citizens of an EU/EEA country: You may
- enter Germany and
- stay there.
Please take note of the entry requirements.
- § 5 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Allgemeine Erteilungsvoraussetzungen)
- § 27 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Grundsatz des Familiennachzugs)
- § 28 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Familiennachzug zu Deutschen)
- § 30 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Ehegattennachzug)
- § 31 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Eigenständiges Aufenthaltsrecht der Ehegatten)
- § 35 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Eigenständiges, unbefristetes Aufenthaltsrecht der Kinder)
- § 3 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU (FreizügG/EU) (Familienangehörige von Unionsbürgern)
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Ministry of Justice Baden-Württemberg released it on 08.08.2023. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.